Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Dec 2 2019 - Zechariah 12 – Jerusalem an immovable rock

The recent history of the people of Judah and of Jerusalem had been one of conquest by other nations and the destruction of their city. In this chapter the Lord promises that he will keep his people safe from all such future conquests. When the nations gather against Jerusalem, the Lord himself will strike down the attacking forces. Every household will feel that they have gained a victory like that of David when he first captured the city from the Jebusites years before (vv. 1-8).

The latter part of the chapter (vv. 10-12), is not easy to understand and so I am going to include an explanatory quote from Barry Webb to help us to understand it. He describes these verses as:

The most mysterious and profound part of Zechariah's message, and it has to do with the necessary place of suffering and weeping in the coming of the kingdom of God… In general the picture that unfolds here is of a victorious army suddenly plunged into grief by the realisation that its supreme commander has been slain in battle and (worst of all) that his own followers are responsible for his death… The 'pierced one' is none other than God himself, for it is he who expressly says so: they will look on me the one they have pierced… The victory that will usher in the kingdom of God will not be won without suffering, and none will suffer more keenly than the King himself. (The Message of Zechariah, pp. 159-160.)

Many questions are left unanswered in this chapter of Zechariah. How can God be pierced, and pierced by those he is fighting to save?

Once again, Zechariah points us beyond the events of his own day to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God come in the flesh. He is Israel's King and Messiah, but he is also the Saviour of the world. His kingdom could not be established without the piercing and death of the King. Zechariah 12:10 is quoted of the Lord Jesus Christ in John 19:37. He is the one who "was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

And it is the Spirit poured out upon us, Jew and non-Jew alike, who has filled us with a sense of grief that our sins nailed him to that cross and our sentence of death was borne by him. We look upon him whom we have pierced with deep sorrow but also with great joy, for he is now risen and glorified and yet he bears those scars still. They are now the marks of his victory and of our victory also in him. We take to ourselves the promises of God in the first part of this chapter; God's protection surrounds us for he will not allow any of those whom he has purchased at so great a cost to be snatched away from him.

The picture of the armies besieging Jerusalem but destroyed by the power of the God who defends his people finds its echo in the Book of Revelation where, "the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army" (Revelation 19:19). The rider on the horse is the risen Lord Jesus (19:11-16). The forces opposed to Christ and his kingdom were, "killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse" (19:21).

These are strange and confusing pictures, but their message is simple and plain. The Son of God who died for our sins is our risen and triumphant Saviour. No power in earth or in hell itself can prevent the triumph of his kingdom or jeopardise the security of his people. We shall be, and indeed are, more than conquerors through him who loved us.

"Give me a sight, O Saviour, of thy wondrous love to me, of the love that brought thee down to earth, to die on Calvary. Oh, make me understand it, help me to take it in, what it meant to thee, the Holy One, to bear away my sin." Lord Jesus, we thank you for your dying love and risen power. Help us to know that we are secure in your keeping, and knowing this to encourage others to come into your saving embrace.

Peter Misselbrook